If you experience lower back pain, your hips could be the cause of it. These 10 poses will help strengthen all the right muscles to fix pain at the source.
Weak hip muscles are often the hidden cause of lower back pain. Sitting for prolonged periods of time is particularly damaging, as it shortens and tightens the hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves while weakening our abdominals, back muscles, outer hips, and glutes. Over time, the effect of this muscular imbalance leads to an anterior pelvic tilt – meaning lower back and hip pain.
To combat this problem, start by making it a habit to get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. Then, incorporate this yoga program into your daily routine. It’ll help strengthen your hips, which is beneficial in combatting lower back pain.
Yoga Poses for Lower Back and Hip Pain
These 10 yoga poses will fight imbalance by opening up muscles that get tight from sitting, and strengthening the muscles that become weak.
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Embryo’s Pose | 10 breaths
This relaxing yoga pose helps to gently release tension in the lower back and hips.
- Start by kneeling on your mat with your legs together. Sit back on your heels.
- Lower your belly and chest onto your thighs and bring your forehead to rest down on your mat. Reach your arms back alongside your body with your palms facing up.
- Relax your shoulders and close your eyes. Hold for 10 slow breaths.
Supine Twists | 8 breaths per side
This twist opens up the outer hips and gently releases the muscles along the spine.
- Lie on your back. Straighten your left leg down the mat and hug your right knee into your chest.
- Use your left hand to guide your right knee across your body, bringing your spine into a twist. Keep your right shoulder on the mat.
- Look up towards the ceiling or, for a deeper twist, turn your head to the right. On each inhale, find length through your spine. On each exhale, twist a little deeper.
- Hold for eight slow breaths, then switch sides.
Bridge Pose | 10 breaths
This yoga pose stretches the hip flexors while also strengthening the core.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Place your arms down alongside your body with your palms face down. Keep your feet hip-width apart and walk them close to your body.
- Press your palms into the ground as you inhale and lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
- Hold for 10 breaths, then slowly roll back down one vertebra at a time.
Standing Forward Fold | 8 breaths
This gentle forward fold releases tight hamstrings, glutes, and the lower back.
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Engage your abs and bend both knees.
- On an exhale, fold forward at the hips, keeping a flat back. Then, reach your hands to the floor. Keep the knees bent and rest your torso on your thighs so that your lower back gets a nice release.
- Let your head hang heavy and relax into the fold. Allow your weight to shift towards your toes to stretch your hamstrings.
- Hold for eight slow breaths.
Low Lunge | 8 breaths per side
Use this pose to open tight hips flexors and bring your pelvis back to a neutral position.
- Begin in a high plank position.
- Step your right foot between your hands, stacking your knee above your ankle. Lower your back knee to the ground and untuck the toes.
- Walk your hands up onto your right thigh and lift your chest. Slightly tilt your tailbone down and draw your lower belly up and in.
- Press your hips forward slightly to feel a stretch through your left hip flexor. Reach your arms overhead, turning the pinkies in slightly, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears.
- Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides.
Chair Pose | 5 breaths
This challenging pose strengthens the glutes, outer hips, and core.
- Stand with your feet together so that your big toes touch and there is a bit of space between your heels. Bring your palms to heart center.
- Engage your abs and keep an upright spine as you bend your knee and sit your hips back and down.
- Squeeze your inner thighs and keep the weight back in your heels.
- Hold for five breaths, then stand back up.
Single Leg Tadasana | 8 breaths per side
This balancing pose strengthens the hip stabilizers and core that become weak from a sedentary lifestyle.
- Stand with your feet together. Spread your toes wide to root down through your feet. Bring your palms to heart center. Squeeze your shoulder blades and engage your abs.
- Shift your weight onto your right foot and slowly pick your left foot up. Bend the knee towards 90 degrees and flex your foot.
- Keep the knee high for eight breaths, then switch sides.
Supported Yogi Squat | 8 breaths
You’ll feel immediate relief in this supportive pose that loosens up the outer hips, inner thighs, and lower back.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance. Turn your toes out a little. Place a block between your feet on the low or medium height.
- Exhale to sit back onto the block. Keep your knees pointing in line with your toes.
- Bring your hands to heart center and engage your abs. Use your elbows to press your thighs open while simultaneously squeezing your thighs in against your elbows. Keep your chest lifted and your shoulders down and back.
- Hold for eight breaths, then exhale to release into a forward fold.
Seated Figure 4 | 10 breaths per side
This stretch releases tight outer hips and hip flexors.
- Sit with your knees bent and feet on the mat.
- Cross your left ankle on top of your right thigh, directly above your knee. Flex your left foot.
- Sit up tall and breathe into your left hip. For a deeper stretch, scoot your hips closer to your right foot.
- Hold for 10 breaths, then switch sides.
Seated Forward Fold | 10 breaths
This relaxing stretch releases tension in the lower back, outer hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Sit up tall on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Engage your abs.
- On an exhale, fold forward to grab the outer edges of your feet. Bend your knees as much as you need. Your belly should rest on your thighs.
- Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths.
(Your Next Workout: 9 Easy Exercises for Lower Back Pain Relief)